For the novice who may never have had the experience, here's the protocol used by many massage therapist today. Hopefully this will answer some of your questions about what therapeutic massage is.
When you come into the therapist office, the therapist will have you fill out an intake form, similar to the one you fill out at any doctors office. Then your therapist will direct you to a treatment room where you spend time with discussing your reasons for wanting a massage and what techniques they may use to help you with any specific medical problems you may want to address during the massage. The therapist will leave the room while you undress and lay on the massage table face up with a drape covering your body.
First the therapist will approach the head of the table so they can start work on the muscle groups in the head, face, and neck. Then moving on to each arm and hand, working the muscle, joints, and tendons. Then on to each leg, ankle, foot, using the same manipulations on each limb. Each limb is undraped as the therapist works, and then covered back for the clients comfort, and to promote warmth in the muscle tissue. After treatment is completed on the limbs, and you are completely covered, the therapist will have you roll over on to your stomach while placing your face into the face rest on the table. Then the massage continues with the therapist undraping one leg at a time, working the muscle groups and then re-draping the limb. The therapist then will uncover the clients back and continue the session with working the muscles on the back, neck, and shoulder area. Such a simple process, with dramatic results. Who knew that the path to good health could feel so good.
Carol LeRoy is the owner and operator of the massage center Kneading Therapy, Inc.